With 351 surveyors and 17,500 households, the grand tally of Martha’s Vineyard residents is still unknown as the 2010 U.S. Census comes to a close this month.

Six weeks have passed since John Newsom finished surveying Vineyard residents for the 2010 census; quality control officers concluded their surveys this week, and now all that’s left to do is count.

“Overall it was good. I can’t let out any government secrets,” Mr. Newsom said over the phone with a smile you could hear earlier this week.

The census is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and also helps to determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding is dispersed to hospitals, schools, public works projects and emergency services.

“It reminded me of basic training, modeled the Army way,” Mr. Newsom said of the two-week government training he and other employees went through.

“Some make it, some don’t,” Mr. Newsom said of the surveyors. “Once you get through that, it’s not all that bad, and do what they say and collect your paycheck,” he added.

“We can’t move forward until you mail it back,” was one motto the U.S. Census Bureau used in its campaign for the country to participate in the once-every-decade survey, but on the Vineyard it was a different case.

“We really can’t do it by mail because the government doesn’t have our post office box [numbers], all they have is our addresses,” Mr. Newsom said. “It would sit in the mailroom in remote areas like this.”

As a result, Mr. Newsom and other numerators went door-to-door on the Vineyard to record who lives here. Mr. Newsom was assigned to survey Katama; he said out of the 250 or so houses he visited, he conducted between 20 and 30 interviews.

Among the people he interviewed, Mr. Newsom said only one person was uncooperative, and after a few visits, he persuaded that person to conduct the interview.

In the past few weeks, quality control surveyors were sent out to make sure residents had a positive experience when being questioned. A random five per cent of participants were selected to insure the numerators did their job well.

If there were any problems recorded by the quality control surveyors, the entire area would need to be recanvassed. “That wasn’t an issue at all,” Barry Applebaum, the 2010 local census office manager based in Hyannis, told the Gazette this week.

Mr. Applebaum said he heard of a few cases of reluctant residents such as the one Mr. Newsom encountered, due to their antigovernment sentiments. But for every one of them there were three who called to make sure the Census Bureau would be visiting them, worried that they’d be forgotten.

“Word got out that we were there to be helpful,” Mr. Applebaum said.

Mr. Newsom said he interviewed someone who was 105 years old, and counted a couple of babies who had to be put down as 00 because they had not turned one yet.

“They were fun and I had a good time with them,” Mr. Newsom said.

“Every household got canvassed . . . and I felt like we got everything from new constructions to group homes,” Mr. Applebaum said.

The local census office in Hyannis is currently processing the questionnaires, reviewing the data to make sure it is correct, and then boxing and shipping questionnaires down to Maryland for processing. That is where the counting really begins. Mr. Applebaum said he expects to begin seeing some numbers in November.

He attributed much of the success of this year’s census to local establishments, including the Vineyard Haven Public Library, radio stations and newspapers for urging people to participate in the census. He said he was thankful for all their help.

“From our perspective it went well and they completed on time,” Mr. Applebaum said. “They did a great job.”